Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Case of the Case-Making Secretary

From your Secretary of State of Rage, John Kerry, came the opening salvo in yet another front in the Everywhere War. He strove in vain to move the public bellicosity appetite scale all the way from Nine to Ten Percent. It was a heroic effort, replete with two centuries of American jingoism and bathos. He had to have reached into the very depths of his tepid core to come up with so much feigned outrage. (italicized bits are just my own mutterings.)

Text of John Kerry's Getting Ready for War speech:

Well, for the last several days President Obama and his entire national security team have been reviewing the situation in Syria. (They've had months and years and countless rounds of golf in which to review the situation, but there you go.) And today I want to provide an update on our efforts as we consider our response to the use of chemical weapons. (Our minds are already made up, but I am making this rare public TV appearance to give our machinations the patina of pretend-transparency.) 

What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable. (Pay no attention to the thousands of deaths by American drones of people with whom we are not even at war, and what Norman Pollack describes as the ongoing Murder by Proxy of Egyptian citizens, using American-made weapons bought by American taxpayers for the enrichment of our military-industrial complex. Those, apparently, are "moral actions". We pretend to have moral standing to condemn chemical weapons use because that is the one atrocity we have never used against others. As far as you know. And egging other countries on, like we did to Iraq back when we liked them, doesn't count. We are only vehemently opposed to chemical weapons when it suits our own self-interest to be. )

The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict on Syria itself. And that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all, a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else. (As self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe, we are highly discriminating killers. Other little countries may kill just for the fun of it, and enjoy the pain they impose, but not us. We  ascribe a transcendant Biblical meaning to all our tawdry endeavors. We kill from duty and for profit. God is on Our Side. We derive our entire meaning from magical thinking.)

There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons. There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons, and lock them down where they do exist. There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences. And there is a reason why no matter what you believe about Syria, all peoples and all nations who believe in the cause of our common humanity must stand up to assure that there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons so that it never happens again. (Here we go into Righteous American Exceptionalist Preacher mode, which operates thusly: Repeat the initial phrases of the sentences as a litany. There is a reason, there is a reason, there is a reason. Pound that insipid moral outrage into the pliable hearts and minds of America. Shock and Awe, Baby! Shock and Awe. Forget that the United States chose to ignore the world-wide ban on torture, too. After all, now we only outsource it. And force-feed prisoners while we're at it.)

Last night, after speaking with foreign ministers from around the world about the gravity of this situation, I went back and I watched the videos — the videos that anybody can watch in the social media, and I watched them one more gut-wrenching time. It is really hard to express in words the human suffering that they lay out before us. (I always use my sonorous voice dripping with condescending gravitas whilst dictating American dictates to the petty dictators of our client states. And we absolutely need the American people to watch the war-porn videos playing in an endless loop on CNN. Do not, however, watch that gut-wrenching video leaked by Chelsea Manning of murder-by-American soldiers. When we do it, it's not an atrocity. And whoever spills the beans on our righteous slaughters gets sentenced to 35 years in prison.) 

As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him, the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound, bodies contorting in spasms, human suffering that we can never ignore or forget. Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass. (We, the murderous tyrants of the world, always bring up the fact that we implanted our sperm into eggs as justification for killing people. Being fathers who love our own privileged spawn gives us the right to kill the children of our enemies who, by the way, are never victims, but always collateral damage. We never check our own moral compasses. Probably because we lack moral compasses.)


Pakistani Man Grieves Over Child Victims of American Drone Attack

What is before us today is real, and it is compelling. (But don't look at the photo above. Look at my stern visage as I compel you into blind acceptance.)......



So I also want to underscore that while investigators are gathering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense. The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organizations on the ground, like Doctors Without Borders and the Syria Human Rights Commission — these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria. (The facts may not be all in, but we know, we just know, that the Assad Regime is behind this awfulness. Because when facts are lacking, we always bring on the bathos. George W. knew in his gut there were WMDs. When it comes to a case for war, guts and profits rule. Facts drool. And just look at who's providing us with all the intel. It's that least-truthful unprosecuted perjurer himself, Director of Intelligence James Clapper. So there you go.)

Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons. We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses. (All the world's a stage, so we hereby demand that you believe everything that is presented to you on your TV. Again with the repetition, the better to grind it all into your brains. We know, we know, we know. And also, we know.)

We have additional information about this attack, and that information is being compiled and reviewed together with our partners, and we will provide that information in the days ahead. (We'll present this as a cliff-hanger, in collaboration with our partners at CNN and MSNBC and even FoxNews. Stay tuned for further infotainment and filmed atrocities for your viewing pleasure.)

Our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up. At every turn, the Syrian regime has failed to cooperate with the U.N. investigation, using it only to stall and to stymie the important effort to bring to light what happened in Damascus in the dead of night. And as Ban Ki- moon said last week, the U.N. investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used, a judgement that is already clear to the world. (The part of the propaganda wherein the war-mongers pretend to be human and humane. American officials are never cynical, nor do they ever attempt to cover anything up. It only took them 60 years to reveal that the CIA was behind the ouster of the Shah of Iran, for example.)

I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem, and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate: immediate transparency, immediate access, not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story. (Just as we always reassure our own people when it comes to NSA surveillance: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.)

Instead, for five days the Syrian regime refused to allow the U.N. investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them. Instead, it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evidence. That is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide. That is not the action of a regime eager to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons. In fact, the regime’s belated decision to allow access is too late and is too late to be credible. (Mind you, the identities of the snipers have not been determined. They couldn't possibly have been Al Qaeda, whom we alternately bankroll and kill, depending on their location.)

Today’s reports of an attack on the U.N. investigators, together with the continued shelling of these very neighborhoods, only further weakens the regime’s credibility. At President Obama’s direction, I’ve spent many hours over the last few days on the phone with foreign ministers and other leaders. The administration is actively consulting with members of Congress, and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead. President Obama has also been in close touch with the leaders of our key allies, and the president will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. (This is the part of the propaganda in which the picture is painted of kinetic crisis at the highest levels of the government. They are on the phone non-stop, buzzing like self-important little bees, as they make informed choices based on stuff they want to hear.)

But make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny. (Unmanned predator drones are apparently not heinous weapons, nor are the Pakistani, Afghan, Somalian and Yemeni children being rendered into bugsplat by them among the world's most vulnerable citizens. As former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs once pointed out, they committed the crime of being born to "irresponsible" parents.)

Thank you. (Now excuse me as I go pour champagne on the flames that are consuming my soul.)





"There exists among men, because they are men, a solidarity through which each shares responsibility for every injustice and every wrong committed in the world, and especially for crimes that are committed in his presence or of which he cannot be ignorant. If I do not do whatever I can to prevent them, I am accomplice in them. If I have not risked my life in order to prevent the murder of other men, if I have stood silent, I feel guilty in a sense that cannot in any adequate fashion be understood juridically, or politically, or morally. . . . That I am still alive after such things have been done weighs on me as a guilt that cannot be expiated." -- Karl Jaspers.


13 comments:

The Black Swan said...

Obama has previously announced that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be the red line in the sand that once crossed would necessitate US intervention. Now we have a large mass of foreign mercenaries in Syria, many of them al-Qaeda, many of them from Saudi Arabia, who are on the losing side of the rebellion. These same 'rebels' have already killed Syrian civilians and blamed it on the Assad government. So who benefits from all of this? Not Assad, he and his regime have absolutely no reason to use chemical weapons in a war they are winning, when the use of said weapons will bring about the wrath of the international community. But the 'rebels', most of whom are foreign, have a lot to gain. They are losing the war. They need all the outside help they can get. The US needs a reason to lend this aid. The amount of outright lies and half truths in Kerry's speech is astounding. This is like Colin Powell at the UN going on and on about Saddam and his WMDs. Pure bullshit.

Bonnie said...

(Just a fan letter...) Karen, I am so grateful for your common sense and brilliance....you SHINE!

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Bonnie!

annenigma said...

If Assad wanted to use chemical weapons, he'd target the rebels instead of targeting women and children, outraging the world while letting the rebels live on to fight another day. He's not stupid. He originally was a physician and accidentally ended up becoming Syria's President.

Obama essentially encouraged chemical warfare by publicly promising to engage us in war if that red line was crossed. After it was apparent a year later that Obama was breaking his promise, the rebels upped the ante by using chemicals on women and children because, unlike most Americans, the rebels aren't deterred by Obama's broken promises.

The rebels are holding Obama's feet to the fire by adding chemicals to make it a conflagration that he can't ignore. Tragically, they will have to keep upping the ante until Obama keeps his promise. It cleverly forces the issue and gives Obama and the warmongers humanitarian cover for waging yet another war. Hey, what's a Nobel Peace Prize winner to do?

Pearl said...

Our only hope is that judging from the comments to the NYTimes' report of Kerry's statements, no one seemed gung ho to get involved in another crisis like Syria. If this indeed reflects the feeling of the citizens of the U.S. maybe, just maybe it may slow the march to war. The thought of the U.S. getting involved in a Middle East conflagration will hopefully strike terror into American hearts as it certainly does in ours.

I thought the following quote from Kerry's speech you mentioned, Karen,
speaks volumes. Since when can anything Congress say have any merit.
"The administration is actively consulting with members of Congress, and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead."

And why do images of American donated cluster bombs exploding in Libya some
years ago by Israel's invasion, come to my mind in all this? They tore
apart the bodies of civilians, many children, and are as illegal as chemical warfare. Are you listening John Kerry?

James F Traynor said...

The attacks took place in insurgent territory. While passing through Assad held territory UN observers came under sniper fire. The lead truck was disabled, holding up the column, but it proceeded into rebel territory and the observers were able to begin their investigations.

The area in question has been intensely fought over and,so far, the Syrian government has been unable to dislodge the rebel militia who, as I understand it, are not of the extremist variety.

It seems to me that the Syrian government is the more likely perpetrator. But attacking Syrian government installations with cruise missiles is not a smart idea. If it happens again? Well, let's wait and see. Right now there's a little too much macho in the air and that can be a deadly gas.



Pearl said...

Watching the CNN hysteria about a possible attack on Syria brings some
thoughts to mind. At one point, Wolf Blitzer, quietly mentioned that the
American people are not in support of current plans, but the others kept
shouting about doing something quickly and his train of thought was
swallowed up. The timing of all this intrigues me. It seems to me that mixed reports of chemical warfare, reports by human rights agencies and doctors without borders groups in the country have been going on for a long while but kept tamped down and then the following now comes along with an official report today of all the plans afoot after a strong statement by Biden.

"U.N. inspectors in Syria, but what will they find?
The United Nations has sent inspectors to Syria to try to get to the bottom
of the wildly conflicting accounts of chemical warfare." Is it Iraq all
over again?

So as of today the perpetrators are not clearly defined. Also remembering a report about storage of chemicals to be used in a warehouse had Saudi Arabia as the source brings up another question whether or not chemicals supplied to the users came from a country or countries that receive U.S. largesse
which was used for that purpose.

As for timing, something was needed to distract us from all the NSA scandals and whistleblower information.that keeps mounting up.
Would love to get some corroboration with factual information from you smart Sardonickies (Denis, where are you?) to fill in the holes and help us survive the onslaught of our current government's attempt to alter our brain connections.

annenigma said...

White phosphorus, napalm, cluster bombs, land mines, depleted uranium shells, stockpiles of biological weapons ('for research'), and nuclear warheads. You'd think the USG would quit claiming the moral high ground, especially after deliberately targeting and incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians with just two atomic bombs. Now we have 5000-8000 far more powerful nuclear warheads.

Chemical weapons are the poor man's nukes. When they can get hold of nukes or other more powerful weapons, that's what they'll use, just like the USG. That's also why Assad doesn't need to use chemicals - he has other options that the terrorists and rebels don't.

The USG is still the current world leader in the area of legalized mass murders and serial killings called War, and the world leader in arms sales to support them. But we don't use those evil chemical weapons - that would be morally obscene.

ste-vo said...

I would like to read this, but I am can't. I start to retch. Sorry

Pearl said...

Sorry, I erred in a recent comment about Israel invading Libya - I meant
Lebanon. I am not brilliant in Geography obviously. Too many mid east
countries to remember.

Yes, the hysteria continues with no one mentioning there are questions about who was involved in the chemical warfare in Syria and no one mentioning clearly what the purpose of an invasion or air attack involves. And these were people who were on the ground in Syria but all they spoke about was the horrors they witnessed or heard about.

Also not mentioned is the role of Israel in such a conflagration with their eye on devouring Iran and how the U.S. would deal with such a development. I noticed when President Obama phoned all the leaders of allied countries Israel
was not mentioned (unless I missed it) and did he phone Putin? Even if the government of Syria is
truly to blame, it would be a worse catastrophe for the U.S. to involve
itself. All you have to do is see how well Iraq has fared with the 'help' of
the U.S. in bringing democracy to that unfortunate country.

However, we need not worry since President Obama and John Kerry will be
consulting with the brilliant minds in Congress - most likely to get them to sign on for an invasion of some kind.

What next?


Jay - Ottawa said...

Not to worry, people. The good sense of Americans and their building public outcry against another stupid war will soon have us back on our peaceful course through history.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I hereby admit that I just now did the Charlie Brown-Lucy-holding-the-football thing: I emailed my congressman beseeching him to vote !!!NO!!! in case Obama even bothers to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Syria. Maybe it’s worth our all doing that one more time. Here, wear this closepin.

BTW, while the New York Times was still knocked off the net, allegedly by (who else?) Syrian hackers, I went over to “freedomrider” to read Mark Twain’s fresh commentary of this morning on the matter of war with Syria, or any other country deserving of a smackdown from God’s Chosen Nation.
http://freedomrider.blogspot.ca/2013/08/americans-will-support-war-against-syria.html

How dare those nasty Syrians attack our newspaper of record! That alone warrants a declaration of war by a White House committed to freedom of the press.

Neil Gillespie said...

How about this alternative to war: Buy a plane or bus ticket for every person to leave a war zone. Let the dictator reign over an empty city or county. Enforce a blockade on the empty war zone. Cut off the dictator’s food, water, and power. When the dictator makes a run for his life, arrest him under international law, such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/legal%20texts%20and%20tools/Pages/legal%20tools.aspx